Commotio Cordis – open thread

Cardiac Arrest and Commotio Cordis

Since the first quarter of the NFL's Monday Night Football game in early January 2023, many have come to learn about Buffalo Bill's player, #3, Damar Hamlin. That tragic, near-death situation has also introduced many to Commotio Cordis, a medical term. Only speculation links the two as the cause of the player's collapse is yet to be proven in definitive ways. 

Commotio Cordis graphic


The article from the UNC Cardiologist says, Commotio cordis is very rare. Only about two dozen cases are reported every year. Another source, an Athletic Trainer at UMPC, said that last year there were about 250 cases reported. Still, rare.

Baseball and Softball's Risk to Pitchers

On the diamonds, coaches and players have been taking precautions by equipping the pitchers with chest protectors. Both in baseball and softball, the batted ball can return to the pitcher at high speeds and strike mid-chest. Ouch! But in those rare instances, the chest protector can help greatly.

Hockey's Example, blocking the puck with the chest

A long-time NHL player, Chris Pronger, took a puck to the chest and that triggered an emergency situation. Then, the player went unconscious but his pulse did not stop. 

Other risks to ponder

An intentional belly-flop or spring-board entry to a chest smack might be enough to trigger a heart interruption and blackout.

Medicine ball tosses into the chest or into the gut that go a bit too high and off target could be a possible, high-risk move too.

Your thoughts and insights are welcome below, in the comment box.

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  • Bafetimb Gomis, French striker, Reflex Syncope.
  • Fabrice Muamba, FA Cup, cardiac arrest, revived after 78 minutes of no hear pumping
  • Antonia Puerta, cardiac arrest on field, walks off, more attacks in locker-rooms, departs 3-days later.
  • Abdelhak Nouri, Ajax player, suffered permanent brain loss to coma, but now in wheelchair.
  • Christian Eriksen, #10, star of Denmark. Eruo 2020 opening game vs. Finland, revived on pitch, regained consciousness on the pitch. Played in 2023 World Cup then with Manchester United.

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